ArtSpeak is a local organization of artists and those passionate about creativity in Indiana. According to founder Trevor St. Aubin, they seek to connect artists to society while influencing action to enrich cities. With a team of seven including Trevor, Fred Miller, Jingo de la Rosa, Ethan Harrell, Jill Prejna, Tom Day and Emily Miller, ArtSpeak holds monthly events and fundraisers but is rebranding to offer more to our city.
Trevor St. Aubin and Ethan Harrell sat down with PATTERN to discuss what ArtSpeak does for
Indiana and what’s in the future for this creative space.
Samantha Ripperger: Tell me a little about yourselves.
Treveor St. Aubin: I grew up in Northwest Indiana and moved to Indy seven years ago. I worked at a church for like five or six years and I graduated from IUPUI with a communication studies degree. I play in a rock band called Saint Aubin and I also just got married.
Ethan Harrel: I’m from Bedford, Indiana. I grew up a country boy for sure. I went to school at Indiana University for audio engineering. Throughout school I was a cyclist as well and I ended up becoming a bicyclist mechanic and I did that for close to 10 years. I only recently stopped being a bicycle mechanic to actually pursue doing audio engineering which hasn’t been super fruitful, so I’m also working construction now doing interior remodeling. My wife and I got
married three years ago and we’ve been in Indy going on two years now.
SR: What exactly is ArtSpeak? How did it get started?
TS: ArtSpeak started technically in 2016 but we consider 2017 the actual year. It was an idea that I had of giving artists an opportunity to share more than just their craft, but also who they are and their approach to their work. A band can show off their music, paintings can be displayed at an art show but there’s not a ton of avenues for artists to tell their story: where they are from, what they do and what inspired them. We want to amplify art. We want to put art in the forefront of culture to show its importance and its power.
SR: What value does ArtSpeak bring to the local community?
TS: For the community, it allows them to connect to artists. If people really admire local artists, they can hear their story. For artists, it has created a space for them to share while also increasing the value of their work. Once you see who that person is and unpack their story, you’re much more bought into what they do.
SR: How has ArtSpeak impacted your life?
EH: Art is so important. Growing up in a small town, artists and art seemed so inaccessible and for people with a higher means. A lot of my life was spent thinking that unless it’s Rock n’ Roll or grass roots, art is not for me. Getting to know these artists and hearing their stories and realizing what they’re doing with art is their way of saying the things that I’m thinking and saying.
TS: It’s help me realize how accessible greatness can be. It’s empowering to see normal people get up there and share their story and then you see their work and you’re like ‘Holy crap if they can do that maybe I can do something great.’ We are all capable of doing something great, you just have to go do it.
SR: What events does ArtSpeak host or want to host?
TS: Right now we just do the monthly ArtSpeak Presents which is the long-form interview and it’s the second Thursday of each month at Indy Reads Books. We also have fundraisers for ArtSpeak throughout the year. This year we will be doing some panels and we would like to start pushing our media outlets and online stuff because it’s a lot more accessible. We are dropping our podcast here in July or August and we would also like to do a community art project in the future.
SR: Tell us about the ArtSpeak team.
TS: Fred and Emily – they were the initial founders. Fred and I were friends for years and we are in a band together. He’s a videographer and was kind of overwhelmed with doing video and sound, so Ethan came to help out with sound. Jingo was a featured artist and then came on to help as well. Tom is the biggest advocate of ArtSpeak and is our street team dude and Jill helps us with social media.
SR: Is there anything else you see or want for the future of ArtSpeak?
TS: We’ve got big dreams. ArtSpeak is transitioning into being a brand and not just an event. Our event is now called ArtSpeak Presents. We’d like to have ArtSpeak Media, which is like a podcasting network that’s dedicated to art. I would love to have an ArtSpeak Fellowship where we recruit artists to go do their thing. We’d also like to have a building at some point. We love to help Indy be an arts-mecca of the world and would like to have ArtSpeak Events across the country and the world.
ArtSpeak is in the process of becoming a 501c3 to better connect artists to our city. Check out ArtSpeak’s website and attend their events to support local artists and their voices.